What Makes The Memory Center Different?

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What Makes The Memory Center Different?

Choosing the right memory care community is essential to your loved one’s well-being, as well as the well-being of your family.

You want to select a place that is as dedicated to your loved one’s mental and physical well-being, as much as to their emotional comfort and security. This is where The Memory Center excels.

We also recommend reading, How to Compare Assisted Living Communities, which outlines features, benefits and care specific to memory care.

Memory Care Dedicated to Physical, Mental and Emotional Well-Being of Residents

The Memory Center is primarily established to support the physical health of our residents, emphasizing the most current and relevant science around Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions. However, we also know 100% that our residents fare best when their environment is conducive to a life well-lived.

To that end, our memory care center differs from many of the surrounding options, particularly in regards to the following six features:

1. On-site medical director visits

As you know, transitions become increasingly difficult for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. At the same time, those with dementia often have existing medical conditions or may develop other age-related conditions during their time here.

As a result, we have an on-site medical director who is available on a daily basis to confer with our staff nurses (who are on-site 24-hours a day) to address any issues that arise.

Our medical director is a fellowship-trained geriatrician who, in addition to being available to our nurses, also schedules assessments with each of our patients on a weekly basis.

The medical director coordinates home health services for physical, occupational, speech, and psychiatric therapies as needed, ensuring our patients rarely need to leave the premises for routine appointments and specialist visits.

Whether you choose one of our Memory Care Centers or not, we highly recommend narrowing your memory care choices to those with on-site medical staff to reduce the number of off-site appointments or lab work that can agitate residents and cause unnecessary stress.

what makes the memory center different2. Normalcy in a safe, secure environment

Routine and normalcy is a key component in mitigating the side effects of dementia-related conditions, and it is also shown to slow down their progression. This is why The Memory Center establishes normal, safe, and reliable daily rhythms.  

Our center is designed to be attractive and includes the comforts of home and community, all within an extremely safe and secure environment. Our center was built with complete respect for the primary environmental objectives recommended by The Alzheimer’s Association.

We’ve gone above and beyond to include a town-center concept with safe and highly-secure outdoor areas, including courtyards and walking paths.

3. Individualized care and programming

Sure, there are multiple similarities in terms of how dementia and Alzheimer’s show up, and what that means for those who are diagnosed. That being said, we also recognize that each of our residents is a unique individual,so we provide tailored care for each and every one.

This includes things like:

  • Specialized meal plans. All of the foods and treats available via our cafeteria, meal plans and the town center’s cafes and pub are made with respect to a healthy diet. We can create meal plans specific to a resident’s existing medical restrictions and/or sensitivities.
  • Individual health care plans. As mentioned above, our dedicated on-site medical director, nurses and care providers are well-versed on each of our resident’s specific care plans and needs.
  • Social events and programming. Our diverse array of classes, entertainment, social offerings, and classes are so compelling that we often hear quips from residents’ family and friends that they are ready to move in. These events are key to honoring the individual and creating a healthy, stimulating, and social environment that engages residents on a daily basis.

4. The inclusion of residents in every aspect of the day

While we do respect a resident’s choice to spend a day to themselves once in a while, we also provide the opportunity to participate in every aspect of the day. This is done via routine check-ins, conversations, and walks with staff.

Our activities and entertainment coordinators thoughtfully create the weekly and monthly itineraries in a way that allows every resident to participate in the activities they enjoy on a regular basis.

5. Programs designed for those with dementia are not restricted in any way

Often, well-meaning assisted living facilities offer programs designed for those with dementia but then simplify them unnecessarily. This results in classes that are better suited for young children, rather than independent adults.

At The Memory Care Centers, we do prioritize programs that are both beneficial for those with dementia and to complement our residents’ innate talents and interests, but they are not simplified.

Teachers, instructors, and presenters put together engaging, stimulating, and even challenging curricula and only amend these if a resident needs it, or to accommodate an existing disability. This enables our residents to embrace their interests and enjoy their faculties to the absolute fullest.

6. Carefully thought out design to trigger reminiscing and participation

Humans are social creatures, so social bonds, daily interaction and human-to-human connections are key to a lively, active and engaged mind and body.

To this effort, every aspect of the outdoor and interior designs are dedicated to triggering reminiscences, participation, and socialization.

This includes things such as:

  • Warm colors and comfortable, homey furnishings
  • Classic interior designs that are contemporary but include historical and traditional architectural accents
  • Ample daylighting and lighting plans that encourage a healthy circadian rhythm
  • Communal areas and gathering spaces
  • Delicious food options
  • Our incredible Town Center concept
  • Plenty of beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy Mother Nature

Innovative Memory Care Differentiators

Our intentional respect to these six memory care differentiators make The Memory Center unique amongst the area’s memory care and assisted living facility options.

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Taking Care Of Yourself & Managing Time After Being A Caregiver

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As a caregiver, you invested countless hours meeting your loved one’s needs. Now that your season of caregiving has ended, you may feel uncertain about what to do next.

12 Tips For Adjusting To Life After Being A Caregiver

Consider these tips that help you care for yourself and manage your time.

tips for grieving caregivers1. Give yourself permission and time to grieve

After any loss, you will need time to grieve.

The commonly held stages of grief include:   

  • Denial, disbelief, confusion, shock, and/or isolation   
  • Anger   
  • Bargaining   
  • Despair and/or depression   
  • Acceptance   

Instead of hiding or feeling ashamed or guilty, give yourself permission to experience the grieving process. Realize that everyone grieves differently, and you may progress through the grief stages methodically or swing back and forth.

Likewise, you may experience intense emotions or a quiet sadness. No matter what you feel, understand that your grief is normal and that you have the right and need to experience grief in your way.

2. Use healthy and appropriate coping mechanisms

Grief can last months or even years, and you may wonder if you’ll ever return to normal. To cope, you may turn to drugs, alcohol, food, or other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

While you will never forget your loved one, we promise that the pain will eventually subside. Stuffing your emotions or drowning your feelings will only hurt you now and into the future. In fact, unhealthy and inappropriate coping can cause physical pain, emotional illnesses or long-term negative reactions.

Choose to exercise, talk, journal, or embrace other positive and healthy coping mechanisms as you grieve and protect yourself.

3. Ask for and accept help

In your caregiver role, you were the one who gave all the help. Caregiving depletes physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual resources, and now you’re the one in need of assistance.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask for help as needed. Consider writing a list of tasks others can do for you or call friends who will listen and offer support.

By asking for and accepting help, you receive support and allow others to show you love.

4. Take care of your health

Visiting a doctor may be the last thing on your mind, especially if you spent a lot of time in a hospital with your loved one. You deserve to care for yourself, though, as you respect and energize your body during the grieving process.

Apply your caregiving duties to yourself and insist on a healthy daily regimen. Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and visit your doctor for scheduled checkups.

Prioritizing your health equips and strengthens you for your grief journey.

5. Join a support group

Talking about your caregiving and grief experiences may scare you. It’s also hard to be vulnerable and continue to rehash the events surrounding your loved one’s passing.

Other caregivers and professional therapists or grief counselors understand what you’ve gone through. You can share your experiences and discuss your feelings and concerns in a support group. Here, you’ll gain practical advice and emotional support that sustains you as you adjust to life after caregiving.

Talking and sharing can also help others find healing, too.

6. Delay major decisions

The act of caregiving and managing grief takes a toll on your body, mind, and emotions. You need time to find a new normal.

Give yourself at least a year or as much time as you need before you make any major decisions, such as moving, growing your family, changing jobs, or entering a romantic relationship.

This cushion of time prevents you from making an emotional decision you later regret and helps you rediscover yourself.

7. Embrace new routines

Much of your daily routine used to revolve around caring for your loved one. Now, you may miss your caregiving responsibilities and struggle with the significant changes in your daily routine.

Rest assured that in time you can and will develop a new routine that becomes familiar, comfortable, and fulfilling. Start by deciding what will fulfill you each day. Remember to eat, exercise, and spend time doing things that fulfill you, too.

These steps lead you to embrace a new and positive routine.

8. Reevaluate your relationships

Loss affects everyone differently. Some people in your life may step up and offer additional support while others step away and distance themselves.

This relationship ebb and flow after a loss is normal, and you will eventually rediscover a strong and healthy support system.

For now, try to accept inevitable relationship changes. You can reduce stress when you bless and release people who withdraw and show gratitude for people who choose to stay.

9. Carefully choose new responsibilities

Without your caregiving duties, you may have fewer or even no responsibilities. You may find yourself bored, frustrated, or angry and be tempted to over-function and jump right into another caregiving relationship.

Consider giving yourself an extended time off from helping others. Work instead on the hard job of grieving.

You will also benefit from rediscovering the activities, interests, and duties that are important and fulfilling for you. Then carefully choose the new responsibilities you want to embrace as you fill your time.

10. Find fulfilling activities and interests

Caregiving takes time and energy. Instead of enjoying activities and investing in interests that used to be important, you may have put yourself on the back burner.

Now’s a great time to return to the activities and interests that mattered before you took on your caregiving role. You may even develop new hobbies.

Whichever experiences you choose to embrace, know that it’s healthy to fill some of your time with activities and interests that fulfill you and make you happy and content.

11. Discover new priorities and goals

Your role as a caregiver revolved around meeting your loved one’s needs and putting their priorities and goals above your own. Through that process, you may have given up your dreams.

Take time now to think about your future and what you want your life to look like. Then decide your priorities and set goals that propel you to make your dreams come true.

12. Help others

As an experienced caregiver, you have developed dozens of skills. You also understand the hard work caregiving takes, and you know about the grieving process firsthand.

Consider using your experience to help others. You could offer encouraging and beneficial support to other caregivers and make a difference in their lives.

By giving back, you gain an outlet for your energy and may even ease some of your grief symptoms.

Rebuilding Life When Caregiving Ends

Your role as a caregiver for your loved one may be over, but you can now embrace a new season of life.

Consider implementing these tips. With them, you find fulfillment and meaning as you care for yourself and manage your time.

You may also find caregiving support in these related articles:




The Memory Center Virginia Beach Welcomes Tracy Amet

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tracy amet the memory center
Tracy Amet, Admissions & Marketing Director – The Memory Center Virginia Beach

The Memory Center Virginia Beach is pleased to welcome Tracy Amet as our new Admissions and Marketing Director. Tracy joins The Memory Center Virginia Beach team with several years of marketing and sales experience, most recently in the international education industry.

Tracy loves to meet and establish relationships with new people, and her outgoing personality helps to make our residents and their families feel cared for and welcomed. She is a mother to three sons who keep her young and active and when she isn’t busy with her boys, she enjoys running, reading, and volunteering at her sons’ school. 

We are excited to have Tracy and her experience and expertise onboard. 

How Dementia Affects the Younger Population

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Dementia is any condition that includes degeneration of the brain tissue. It can impair neurological functions such as reasoning, memory and communication. The symptoms of dementia also include emotional characteristics such as behavior, mood and personality. Each case of dementia is unique due to the brain’s complexity, especially its condition.

Most people consider dementia to be the inflection of old age as it generally becomes more likely as we get older. However, a significant number of dementia patients are also younger. Young onset dementia (YOD) is any type of dementia that affects someone under 65 years of age.

The significance of this age is primarily social, rather than biological because it’s the traditional age of retirement. Social changes during the past few decades have largely erased this distinction, making a designation of YOD generally irrelevant to treatment.

…Read More

Alzheimer’s In-Home Care vs. Memory Care Facilities

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“There’s no place like home…” is certainly true. This can feel especially poignant for those with Alzheimer’s, who are reluctant to leave a beloved spouse, pets, and the familiar comforts of home.

It’s also true that as Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions progress, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep a loved one well cared for, even with full-time home care in place.

Differences in Alzheimer’s In-Home Care and Memory Care Facility

There is no single answer to this question because every situation is different. However, we can shed some light on the differences between the two.

Patients with mid- to late-stage Alzheimer’s typically do best in a memory care facility. This is the case unless the family has taken great strides to provide a long-term care plan, to include 24/7 coverage of the following:

  • Regular in-home care
  • Skilled home health care
  • Specific nutrition guidelines
  • Ideal memory care-themed activities

Because most families are unable to accommodate that level of care, many Alzheimer’s patients end up in-home care settings that unknowingly hinder, rather than promote, their well-being.

Eventually, they’re transitioned into a memory care facility in crisis, creating a more traumatic experience for everyone involved.

Care Models for Alzheimer’s In-Home Care and Memory Care Facilities

Consider the different levels of care offered in Alzheimer’s in-home care and memory care facilities.

You can be best informed on these differences if you have a clear understanding of the following:

  • Fact-based understandings of Alzheimer’s disease and how it progresses.
  • A realistic awareness of the quantity and quality of care required, which exponentially increases over time.
  • An assessment of current health conditions (if any) and those likely to develop with age, personal/family medical history, and/or in response to dementia-related side effects.
  • The big financial picture
  • Awareness that home-based care plans require some form of respite care from caregivers who are trained in memory care.
  • Transitions significantly diminish the well-being of those with mid- to later stages of Alzheimer’s, including big moves and even the ins-and-outs of getting to/from various medical appointments, etc.

In almost all cases, the ideal memory care model is one that provides the required level of support and care in the home, if desired, during the early stages of the disease.

Transitions from Alzheimer’s in-home care to memory care facility should take place while your loved one has some level of authority regarding decisions and timelines.

Considerations When Researching Alzheimer’s In-Home Care and Memory Care Facilities  

Just this year, the Alzheimer’s Association posted an incredible document titled, Alzheimer’s Association Dementia Care Practice Recommendations, published as a supplemental issue of The Gerontologist.

This includes some of the most up-to-date research findings, which support the following comparisons and recommendations about Alzheimer’s in-home care and memory care facilities, and at what point a transition is best.

When considering your options of Alzheimer’s in-home care and memory care facilities, it’s important to have a solid understanding of several factors, including:

  • Importance of pre-planning care decisions
  • Challenges posed by different care options
  • Activity and social-based needs of your loved one
  • Medical support needs of your loved one
  • Difficulty in waiting to transition from home care to memory facility

at home alzheimer's care atlantaEarly decisions about long-term memory care are ideal

After the shock of the Alzheimer’s diagnosis wears off, it’s no time to pretend “business as usual.” It’s time to rally the troops, ensuring everyone understands what this diagnosis means in a relevant timeline specific to the age/medical condition of your loved one.  

The earlier the diagnosis the better because an early diagnosis allows the individual to have more autonomy and empowerment in expressing ideas, opinions, and desires.

A family meeting about Alzheimer’s care should address:

  • The collective feelings, fears, anger, grief, etc. about the situation.
  • Appreciation for the reality that we’re better informed and better equipped than ever to provide healthy, active and as-independent-as-possible lifestyles for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • The importance of being proactive about researching all long-term care options.
  • Dementia is a progressive disease, almost without exception; some changes happen unpredictably and seemingly overnight, so preparation is everything.
  • Prospective timelines for the transition from Alzheimer’s in-home care to memory care facility.
  • Researching respite care options, knowing respite caregivers need to be well-versed in memory care in the more challenging stages, times of day, etc.

Feeling nervous about the conversation? Read, our Guide for Talking For Talking to a Loved One About Memory Care.

Understand the Challenges Around the Perks of Home Care

While home care does have it’s perks, particularly around the initial diagnosis phase, there are serious challenges when it comes to providing exceptional memory care for your loved one as well as providing the medical care s/he requires now and in the future.

All this must be done while simultaneously creating a “new reality” around the following:

  • Social interactions
  • Relationship adjustments
  • Providing well-rounded activity opportunities
  • Taking time for thoughtful outings that are not too taxing
  • Nighttime/full-time care requirements

It is critical to consider the challenges inherent in a long-term Alzheimer’s in-home care plan.

Consider the social and activity-based needs

If your loved one lives alone, there is almost no circumstance where home care trumps memory care.

The research is very clear that personalized, social engagements are not only good for those with Alzheimer’s, they actually slow down the disease’s progression.

The social sphere of someone with dementia shrinks considerably as the disease progresses; if that person lives alone, interactions with a handful of rotating caregivers, is simply not enough.

Even an individual who lives with a spouse or family members nearby cannot derive the same level of social interactions – let alone art classes, music exposure, gardening, etc. that takes place via direction or facilitation of a memory care expert.

Available on-site medical support

Any medical change, emergency, illness, medication reaction etc. requires transport from home to the doctor, hospital, urgent care, etc., and these disruptions to the norm are very disturbing to the Alzheimer’s patient.

The more memory and medical care are provided via long-term continuums, the better the overall outcome is for Alzheimer’s patients.

High-quality memory care facilities have nurses on-site, available around the clock, and the large majority of residents’ medical conditions and pharmacy needs are managed onsite. This enables a more relaxing, consistent routine for residents, all provided by familiar faces.

Inevitable transitions become increasingly difficult over time

If you decide to care for a loved one at home until you can no longer manage, you’re in a precarious position.

Waiting until later-stage Alzheimer’s has set in puts you and your loved one at risk for the following scenarios:

  • The inevitable transition from your home into memory care may be extremely difficult for the one with Alzheimer’s and much more traumatic for you.
  • You may put yourself and key family members at risk for burnout, continually avoiding the transition until your/their health and well-being are compromised.
  • Your loved one’s Alzheimer’s may, ironically, become “worse” or more progressed by not having skilled memory care in place earlier on.

Read, When to Move to a Memory Care Facility, and learn about the signs indicating when moving to a memory care facility is the right move.

Research Memory Care Facilities Now

It’s never too early to explore memory care facility options. In fact, touring them early is not only helpful for narrowing down prospects, it’s a tremendous resource during your overall adjustment phase.

Through these tours and interviews with memory care experts you and loved ones have access to expert information, education, recommendations, etc., to help you acclimate to your new situation.

Instead of thinking of memory care facility tours as a, “we always said we’d never…” scenario, think of them as an empowering way to learn all you can about memory care and your options without any obligation.

This checklist, Questions to Ask When Visiting Memory Care Communities, provides a helpful framework for your conversations with memory care administrators and staff.

Contact The Memory Center to learn more about your options.

What Is the Memory Center’s Town Center Concept?

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Imagine a small town center, one where everyone knows each other, where people smile, stop and chat for a while and where anyone who needs assistance is offered it by store personnel, food servers or passersby.

This is the type of town we wish existed for everyone with dementia  – a place where individuals have as much autonomy as he or she wishes, but where families never have to worry about their loved one getting lost, being scared without comfort or not having the type of care he or she needs on a daily basis.

Well, guess what? That town center concept actually does exist – and there are currently people with dementia enjoying day-to-day life, going where they want when they want – with their every need and attention to well-being taken care of.

Introducing the Town Center Concept

Our Town Center concept is a favorite feature in our Memory Center communities , and we are the first memory care providers in the United States implementing this innovative and highly-successful concept. Residents and family members alike love our town center design because it gives our communities a less institutional feeling and helps residents to feel more at home.

Our innovative town center, which can be found at all Memory Center locations, allows our residents and their loved ones to enjoy a reality that provides freedom, independence and natural social rhythms that lead to a higher quality of life.

Are Other Organizations Using a Town Center Concept?

Back in 2009, Yvonne von Amerongen and others founded Hogewey a village in the Netherlands that is wholly devoted to those with dementia. Founded as a neighborhood where people can get out and about, enjoy the seasons, visit a restaurant, and can come and go as they please. Sounds like any other place – other than the fact that all of Hogewey’s residents have dementia. You can watch a fantastic.

Amerongen spent her career as a nursing home director but realized that despite all of her hard work and the devoted efforts of nursing home staff, she simply couldn’t imagine anyone she loved dying in a nursing home. That was a major wakeup call for her and it was the beginning of her developing. In the words of Hogewey’s founder, Yvonne von Amerongen,”We want people to enjoy life and feel they are welcome here on planet earth.”

How Are the Memory Center Town Centers Structured?

Hogewey exists as a larger neighborhood, the Memory Center’s unique Town Center is more like a small village square within our memory care facility. This feature is appealing to residents who want to visit the library, enjoy the salon, walk into a store, see a movie or people watch in the town center, they can walk out their door and head that way at any time. If they get lost, they’re simply directed by another resident or by one of the ample staff and caregivers who are onsite 24/7.

Each of The Memory Center’s “Town Center” design is structured similarly to the downtown areas in the communities where we exist to make them more realistic. The design incorporates local landmarks that residents can enjoy and recognize.

In the Town Center, our residents can:

Experience openness and plenty of natural light daily

It’s difficult to feel “free” or “independent” when forced to spend the entirety of your life in hallways and rooms, and/or within smaller, walled-in patios and grounds. Not only does this create a sense of being “trapped,” science has proven the absence of daylight and the normal, seasonal rhythms wreaks havoc on – a system already compromised for those who have dementia.

That’s why the Town Center design is one that is very open, with large windows and ample sunlight. Residents who visit our Town Center know whether it’s morning, afternoon or sunset, whether it’s cloudy or rainy and may even opt to “skip their errands” altogether if the weather is inclement. And, just like in a real town, things shut down at realistic “closing times” so residents are encouraged to be up with the sun, and in bed with the moon – as our bodies were made to do.

Atlanta Memory Care
The Memory Center Atlanta

Enjoy a meal or a game at the Tavern

The Tavern is one of the Town Center “hot spots,” a place where residents gather with friends for happy hour or watch a game on TV. It’s also a favorite place to take family and friends when they have visitors to enjoy a private dining experience.  Each communities Tavern does serve alcohol to residents who have a Physician’s order. Often times, a resident who may experience “Sundowning” can benefit from an afternoon cocktail to help relax them possibly eliminating the use for certain medications.  Each Tavern also serves a variety of mocktails and non-alcoholic beer and wine for those her are unable to have alcoholic beverages. This allows the resident to enjoy the experience with others – minus a bill at the end!

Alzheimer's Care Facility AtlantaCatch a movie

Movies are a favorite pastime for many aging adults – and who can resist when the ticket prices are $0? Movies are shown on a schedule, just like a local theater, and run the gamut
from recent releases to classic, black-and-white favorites.

Not surprisingly, going to the movies can also help to pass the time for parents and their children, or grandparents and their grandchildren, particularly when dementia has progressed to a point that makes normal conversations difficult.

Pick up a few essentials at the General Store

Richmond Memory Care
The Memory Center Richmond

Can you imagine an existence that doesn’t involve heading the grocery store on a weekly basis? Attending to the store list is part of our day-to-day rhythm, so the ability to shop for groceries and other relevant essentials brings back a sense of normalcy that is often gone forever when transferred to an assisted living or memory care community.

Our Activities staff is trained to work with those with dementia and while you wait in line to “check out at the register,” just like you would at any store, no money has to change hands.  However, if a resident wants to use the money the staff simply uses General Store cash provided by The Memory Center.

Get an overdue haircut

The Town Center salons ensure everyone can have regular haircuts, hair coloring and/or perms to maintain a perfectly coiffed countenance. Hair salons and barber shops are other things that often end up by the wayside, and are greatly missed by those who had weekly or monthly appointments.

Our Town Center Helps Residents to Feel Permanently “At Home”

The concept has had a notably positive effect on our residents because it gives them a sense of independence they simply can’t enjoy otherwise, and the growing array of amenities available to them mean less reason for families to take them elsewhere during visits – which can exacerbate confusion and agitation when they return.

Imagine this common scenario:

You go to visit your mother or grandmother and are greeted with a polite hello (if she no longer recognizes you) or a welcoming hug (if she does). You visit for a while but her stories are circular and repetitive. To provide some relief you offer to take her to lunch. After signing her out, she gets a bit confused – and this confusion and agitation grow by the minute. By the time you return, she’s visibly upset and may even be in tears – wondering why you’re leaving her there, or inquiring why you didn’t take her “home.” This is unsettling at best, and emotionally devastating at worst.

Our Town Center creates an alternative scenario that looks much different.

You greet your loved one and the two of you simply head to the Town Center to enjoy lunch, a coffee, the daily ice-cream social that is filled with families and staff or any of the many daily activities. Afterward, you stroll to another common area – or return to their room when it’s time to leave – no confusion, no agitation and all the benefits of “an outing.”  Not only has your loved one had a pleasant visit with you, you are able to enjoy the time with your loved one and know that at anytime a staff member or Nurse is available if needed.

This is one of the many reasons why at The Memory Center communities we are Living Well with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias.

How To Know It’s Time For Memory Care

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When something acute happens, like a traumatic car accident or terminal illness diagnosis, the natural reaction is to jump into action making plans.

On the other hand, age-related cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia don’t always cause such immediate impact. Rather, signs and symptoms unfold over a period of time, making it difficult to know when memory care is truly needed.

There are also the psychological and emotional impacts of dementia-related conditions on a person’s spouse, loved ones and family. Denial, emotionally driven conversations and the thought that caregiving can’t be that difficult, all add to the challenge of making mindful, long-term care plans.

5 Signs A Loved One Needs Memory Care

Multiple studies show moving those with Alzheimer’s or dementia into memory care communities sooner, rather than later, results in better outcomes for patients–mentally, physically and emotionally.

The following are five clear signs it’s the right time for memory care.

1. Alzheimer’s, dementia or another dementia-related condition diagnosis

Everyone is forgetful at times, and this forgetfulness increases with age.

However, routine forgetting of important dates, names, how to get to familiar places, to pay bills, etc. is not normal. These are often the first signs of dementia and should trigger an appointment with your physician.

Once a diagnosis is given, it’s time to begin having conversations about memory care.  

The desire to live at home for as long as possible is understandable and encouraged in the beginning stages so long as there are no serious safety issues at risk.

At the same time, this is your best opportunity to begin visiting, touring and exploring reputable, licensed memory care facilities in your area. This process results in a wealth of information and resources.

As mentioned above, studies show that it’s better to transition individuals from home into memory care before more dangerous signs and symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s surface.

Transitioning earlier allows your loved one to have a say in his/her future which is extremely important.  It also enables necessary adjustment time, so they’re in familiar surroundings, forming relationships and connections with staff, employees and other residents when they progress to later stages of dementia.

2. Caregiver stress

Caregiving for a loved one with memory care is a 24/7 occupation.

Without engaging in regular respite care, it becomes impossible to sustain the situation. Even with qualified, in-home care providers, those with mid to later stages of memory loss require increasing levels of medical assistance, and the enormity of unceasing tasks is more than almost any household can accommodate.

If you’re approaching, or have already reached, a point where caregiving is all-consuming, it’s time to consider memory care.

Similarly, if you find yourself a member of the “Sandwich Generation”, stuck between an aging parent requiring care, a job and the needs of your own family, memory care is a must or else you’ll quickly go from being a caregiver to needing a caregiver of your own.

care for parents with alzheimers3. A decline in overall health

As memory loss sets in, so do the abilities to drive a car, make grocery lists, prepare food, remember daily medications, or even remember to eat.

Losing track of days and times has a disastrous effect on the circadian rhythm, contributing to Sundowner’s syndrome, insomnia and other sleep disorders that take on toll on one’s health and well-being.

Physical signs include:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Lack of food in the fridge or cabinets
  • Evidence of medication not taken (or overtaken)
  • Neglected personal hygiene
  • Hunched or sunken posture
  • Inexplicable bruises, breaks and/or injuries
  • Unpaid bills and missed appointments

The inability to remember how to get home or where one is going puts patients at risk for injury, getting lost or becoming victims of scams and potentially violent crimes.

Similarly, those with dementia are more prone to being injured at home and are less able to remember how to seek help, forgetting to press a “life alert’ button or how to use the phone to call 911.

If you find yourself worrying about a loved ones’ well-being on a regular basis, the transition to memory care brings peace of mind while simultaneously ensuring s/he is supported, attended to and cared for day-in and day-out.

4. Little to no social life

The social life of someone with dementia shrinks considerably, exacerbating and even accelerating the condition.

In addition to on-site medical care and low caregiver-to-resident ratios, memory care facility residents have rich and vibrant social lives. Daily activities, supervised excursions, and creative outlets are a foundation upon which these center were developed, and the positive benefits of those outlets are evidenced.

Read about our Philosophy to learn more about the research and wisdom behind memory care centers, and to learn about our own Town Center design, which helps residents feel connected to neighborhood-based lifestyles.

5. Your instincts are telling you something

Inevitably, your gut instincts never lie.

If you deeply suspect it’s time to move a loved one into memory care, it’s undoubtedly true. Honor that feeling with a consultation at memory care centers near you, and your wise intuition will lead you to the best path forward.

Be Proactive, Learn More About Memory Care Before Your Loved One Needs It

Spouses and family members often find themselves at a loss once a tipping point is reached when, quite often, accidental injuries, malnutrition and diminished quality of life force everyone’s hand.

Don’t wait until your loved one is getting worse, or you and your family members are mentally and physically exhausted. Understand the signs and symptoms of cognitive decline. Be aware of your loved one’s health and well-being. Start your research on memory care now, before they need it.

You may also be interested in these related memory care posts:



Can You Recover From Alzheimer’s or Dementia?

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alz care richmond va
Some medications can produce dementia-like symptoms.

Finding out a loved one has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is scary.  One of the first questions people ask is if there is a cure or a way to recover.


Alzheimer’s and Medications

While certain medications can help slow the progression for a time, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia. Alzheimer’s disease leads to cell death and tissue loss in the brain which ultimately affects memory, behavior, bodily functions or other systems.  It is a progressive disease that eventually leaves the person unable to safely care for themselves.

Alzheimer’s Treatments

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, research shows treatments and activities that stimulate the senses may improve behavior and mood, including decreased agitation.  Activities such as art, singing or listening to music fight boredom and may help trigger past memories.

At The Memory Center, our daily activities are designed to inspire purpose, validate actions and invigorate while providing the highest quality of life for residents.  Functional and fun are key components of our activities.

Our multi-sensory activities program increases communication, socialization, physical movement and motor abilities.

Some Health Problems May Mimic Alzheimer’s Symptoms

If you, or a family member, are exhibiting memory problems the first step is to talk to a doctor.

Not all memory loss is related to Alzheimer’s or dementia.  There are other reasons you might experience memory problems including thyroid issues, stress, vitamin deficiencies or certain medications.  In these instances, once the cause is identified, your doctor can provide a course of treatment to manage, or even reverse, the symptoms.

Learn More About Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Communities

Read more about how Alzheimer’s affects the brain or contact us for information about programs at The Memory Center in Virginia Beach, Midlothian/Richmond, and Atlanta. 

Tour One of Our Memory Centers Today

How to Care for Someone with Lewy Body Dementia

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The diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is life changing.

After the initial shock and grief wear off, it is critical that a long-term care plan is created and put in place as soon as possible. The quality of life for both the patient, as well as loved ones and other caregivers, is directly impacted by implementing a thoughtful care plan that accommodates for the range of changes and needs that evolve over time.

There is much you can do to provide high-quality care for someone with LBD. Educating yourself, securing support and making lifestyle changes to slow progression are just a few things you can do.

Confirming a Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosis

Lewy Body DementiaMany well-intentioned physicians misdiagnose Lewy Body Dementia as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s dementia because the symptoms of LBD can be similar.

However, an incorrect diagnosis can be devastating because, as Howard I. Hurtig, M.D., Chair, Department of Neurology, Pennsylvania Hospital, and member of the LBDA Scientific Advisory Council, states:

“While the symptoms of LBD may be similar to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease dementia, the treatment strategy is more challenging because fewer medications can be used safely.” Dr. Hurtig adds, “I cannot overemphasize the need to avoid medications that can worsen the symptoms of LBD. Every patient with this disease and their caregivers should be familiar with the list of acceptable and forbidden drugs.”

The Lewy Body Dementia Association has a wonderful publication, Lewy Who? which includes a helpful chart describing the difference in symptoms between those with LBD and their Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease dementia counterparts.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s dementia, it’s worth reviewing these LBDA resources before starting any new medications in case LBD is the more accurate diagnosis.

Learning About Lewy Body Dementia

Education and communication are key to getting the care your loved one needs. The more you and caregivers understand about Lewy Body Dementia, the better.

In addition to the resources above, check out the LBDA, Learn About LBD page. Consider printing poignant portions of these pages for easy reference. It’s a wealth of information to digest but consider it a roadmap, helping you find your way along this complex journey.

Also, learn how effective lifestyle changes improve dementia outcomes, including:

Read Harvard U’s, Intensive LIfestyle Change: It Work… for more information.

Getting a Neurologist Referral for Lewy Body Dementia Treatment

Accurate diagnosis is key, as is early treatment action.

Seek a referral to a neurologist experienced in treating Lewy Body Dementia. There are medications known to alleviate certain LBD symptoms. There are also common antipsychotic medications that do more harm and exacerbate symptoms.

Work with an expert who’s up-to-date with the most current LBD research for optimized treatment.

Caring for Someone with Lewy Body Dementia

Caring For Someone with DementiaDuring the early stages of the disease symptoms are easier to manage. This makes it easy for loved ones to fill in the care gaps.

Although this is encouraged, these gaps and needs escalate at a more rapid pace as time elapses. As a result, caregivers often experience stress, depression, problems in their personal life and difficulty taking care of themselves. Caregiver stress is common and comes with hard-hitting consequences. Enlisting the help of care providers is a powerful step.

4 Tips for Lewy Body Dementia Care

1. Visit live-in care providers early to make an educated decision

If LBD is caught early, in-home care might make sense before the patient is transitioned to a memory care community.

Even so, schedule consultations and tours with prospective communities now. Not only does this give you time to process your decision, and learn more about what the future holds, it also provides the patient a greater sense of autonomy and choice in the matter.

2. Begin scheduling respite care opportunities

In the beginning, your life may only change a bit here and there, as you create new systems to navigate day-to-day life. However, things can snowball quickly.

Scheduling respite care opportunities allow you to remain more patient and compassionate when it’s your turn to provide care (and prevent caregiver burnout).

3. Use home care aides

If you opt to remain at home before transitioning to memory care, use a home care agency for tasks that are more challenging for you. This enables you to reserve your energy for the logistics, decisions, and emotional care required on a regular basis.

Home care aides can do the majority of the lifting, bathing, errand running, housekeeping and other tasks you may not have time for anymore.

The more you enlist the help of others’ support, the better able you are to care for your loved one.

4. Create an information & resource guide

Things may seem status quo for a while, but they can shift suddenly.

In order to ensure your loved one receives the care he or she needs, it’s important to be prepared and organized. Keep an emergency information packet on hand that includes:

  • An easy-to-read sheet, briefly explaining LBD, as well as any other medical conditions, for EMTs and/or care providers
  • A list of all of the current medications/dosages and contraindications, updated regularly
  • Copies of medical insurance cards
  • Copies of health care advance directives
  • Important contact information for neurologist/primary care providers, family, friends, neighbors, etc.

Planning for the Future with Lewy Body Dementia

Caring for someone with Lewy Body Dementia requires a balanced approach.

On one hand, it’s essential to plan for the future; on the other, it’s important to be present in the moment and take things day-by-day. Depending on your loved one’s symptoms and disposition, it’s critical to be flexible in terms of routine because things can change suddenly.

For example, those caring for someone with LBD find things go best when life moves at a slower pace, with fewer expectations and more flexible schedules. Things like art, music, gardening and sharing favorite foods may take precedence over other, more distracting activities.

Transitioning to Memory Care for Lewy Body Dementia

The temptation to put off the transition to a memory care center is understandable.

However, changes in routine and major transitions become more stressful as time goes on. Studies show that moving those in mid to later stages of dementia exacerbates their condition, compared to those who moved earlier and had more time to adjust to their new environment before dementia progressed.

Having a difficult time selecting the right memory care center for your loved one? Use this Checklist of Questions To Ask… to guide your decision.



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